Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
BATON ROUGE, LA - The Tigers held on for an exciting 80-77 overtime victory over Alabama on Saturday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
A crowd of 11,237 showed up to honor both Xavier Pinson and Darius Days on Senior Day and cheer their Fighting Tigers onto a huge regular season ending win. The game was a thrilling one with 15 ties and 12 lead changes as both teams gave all they had until the final second.
“Obviously great win. I can’t recall all of Darius Day’s games, but I think this is one of his best. Just a complete game inside and out. Took eight twos and seven threes." said Will Wade. "(Xavier) Pinson with eight assists. Obviously, Tari (Eason) made his last six free throws. He went six for six after starting three for seven I believe, so that was huge. (Eric) Gaines made two huge free throws for us. We obviously left a lot to be desired on the glass. We did a better job I think, in the second half, but we did a good job attacking the rim and playing inside-out. I was proud of our guys for finding a way to win. I thought the crowd was great. I thought the students were great for an 11 a.m. game. We have appreciated them all season. They have been there for us and have done a great job.”
Darius Days led the team with 24 points, thirteen of them coming in the second half and two in overtime. “It was unreal." Darius Days said. "I came here as an 18-year-old and now I’m leaving as a 22-year-old. I really grew up here. I became a man here. It’s very emotional for me today. It is what it is.”
Tari Eason scored 20 points and Brandon Murray finished with 17 points. The Tigers finished the contest shooting 28-61
for 46% and hit 7-20 from three points range for 35%. LSU sank 17-23 from the charity stripe for 74% while Bama won the rebound battle, 42-33.
The Tigers were able to build a 10-5 lead early at the 16:30 mark before Brandon Murray drove the lane to lay in a basket drawing a foul to send him to the line with a chance for a three point play. Murray would sink his bonus shot giving LSU a 13-5 lead with 15:52 left on the clock.
Alabama responded with eight straight points to tie the game at 13-13 while LSU found themselves going almost three minutes without a basket.
The Tigers took the lead back on a Darius Days three point jumper, followed by Tari Eason banking in a layup, drawing a foul, then sinking his free throw, giving LSU a 19-13 lead at the 12:03 mark.
Over the next three minutes, the Crimson Tide would go on a 10-1 run to take a 23-20 lead with 9:00 minutes left in the half as the Tigers continued to struggle to buy a basket.
The pace of the game picked up as both teams started pushing the ball up and down the floor as we would find the
contest evened up at 29-29 with 3:24 left in the first half.
Both teams played even over the final three minutes before Noah Gurley would score on a fast break dunk at the buzzer after a LSU turnover to give Alabama a 38-36 halftime lead.
Tari Eason led the Tigers at the half with 10 points while Darius Days scored 9 points. Brandon Murray added 6 points, Eric Gaines scored 4 points, Mwani Wilkinson finished with 3, while both Pinson and Reid added 2 points each.
The Tigers shot 46% from the floor over the first 20 minutes and hit 4-11 three point attempts for 36%. LSU left four points at the free throw line, sinking only 6-10 for 60%. The big stat of the first half was LSU losing the rebounded battle to Alabama, 20-15.
Both teams opened the second half playing well on both ends of the floor as we found the game knotted up at 44-44 at the first officials timeout with 15:52 to go.
With Alabama up 55-51, the Tigers scored four straight to tie the game at 55-55 with 10:40 left in the contest, but the Tide would respond outscoring LSU 7-2 over the next three minutes to build a 62-57 advantage with 6:52 left in the game.
Once again the game sat at a tie score, 64-64 with only 3:49 remaining and the Bayou Bengals finally made their move when Darius Days banked in a reverse layup followed by a steal and running slam dunk by Brandon Murray, putting LSU up 68-64 at the 3:04 mark.
With 1:38 left LSU found themselves clinging to a one point lead, 70-69. JD Davison would sink a free throw to tie the game up before Darius Days drove to the basket and hit a leaning jumper to give LSU a 72-70 lead with :52 seconds remaining.
Keon Ellis found himself at the free throw line with :12 seconds left. Ellis sank both shots to tie the game at 72-72. Darius Days missed a shot at the buzzer to win sending us to overtime.
Days would ignite the crowd with a dunk to put LSU up first in the extra period, but Alabama would answer as Jahvon Quinerly sank a huge three pointer putting the Tide up 75-74 with 3:32 left in OT.
Alabama increased their lead to three, 77-74 with 1:31 left as Keon Ellis scored on a layup off of a LSU turnover.
Tari Eason would sink two free throws, then score on a fast break dunk off of a Bama turnover to put LSU ahead 78-77 with :38 seconds left.
The Tigers would get the ball back with eight seconds remaining after a shot clock violation by the Tide. Eric Gaines found himself at the free throw line with seven seconds on the clock. Gaines would sink both, increasing LSU's lead to three, 80-77.
Jahvon Quinerly fired up a long three for the Tide that bounced away off the rim as the Tigers escaped with a thrilling 80-77 victory to end the regular season with a 22-10 record (9-9 in the SEC)...
Photos Below By: Jonathan Mailhes